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University of Colorado
College of Engineering & Applied Science
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Department Update | Spring 2015
2015 Aerospace Student Projects Symposium
This past April, aerospace senior and graduate students showcased their team projects at the 2015 Aerospace Student Projects Symposium. Sponsored by industry leaders such as Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, and Northrop Grumman, plus NASA Langley and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the projects pushed students to synthesize their engineering, math and leadership skills by addressing real-world engineering challenges. Each project is highly multi-disciplinary, containing mechanical, electrical and software elements.

During the aerospace engineering sciences graduation reception, awards were given in recognition of exceptional team and individual performance. The "Best Engineering Understanding Award" was presented to MODEFLIER, a team that collaborated with CU's RECUV lab to develop a UAV for demonstrating aircraft dynamic modes in undergraduate flight dynamics courses. The "Best Engineering Quality" award went to PHOENIX, which, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, developed and tested a 2U CubeSat mid-wave infrared camera for asteroid spin sensing. For a complete list of the awards, please visit our website.

Interested in sponsoring a Senior Design project for this upcoming fall? Contact AES chair Penny Axelrad or check out our website for more information.
Colorado Aerospace Day
On March 23, 2015, aerospace industry leaders and students descended on the Colorado Capitol to celebrate Colorado Aerospace Day. Colorado currently stands as a national powerhouse for aerospace development and advancement. Ranked first in the US for per capita private aerospace employment, Colorado is home to over 500 aerospace companies, including top firms such as Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada Corporation and United Launch Alliance.

As the number-one NASA-funded public university in the country, CU-Boulder, home to research communities such as LASP (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Research), is making significant contributions to the Colorado and national aerospace scene.

The day's festivities included discussions between aerospace industry leaders and lawmakers on the impact and future of the expanding aerospace economy, hands-on exhibits, and public addresses by Colorado state representatives.

In April, CU-Boulder held its annual TEDx event. Joining an eclectic mix of students, engineers, scientists and artists from the broader Boulder community, aerospace Ph.D. student Ryan McGranaghan delivered a talk on space weather. Highlighting the impact of solar behavior, Ryan explained how the sun can produce weather that is both life-sustaining and life-threatening.

Matthieu Talpe, another aerospace Ph.D. student in astrodynamics, was a TEDx speaker last year and an organizer for this year's event. Matt feels strongly about the importance of communication, especially as it pertains to the scientific community. To him, "the skills you develop in the process of TEDx are completely relevant [to a career in science]," such as the ability to convey complex ideas in simple terms. Matt's objective is to combat the perception that engineers need only be equipped with the skills to produce science; rather, he believes that engineers must be equally capable of conveying their scientific findings in a manner that is interesting and accessible to the broader community. "For an engineer to not value communication is an offense to common sense," he explains. We hope that future TEDx conferences will continue to cultivate a culture of openness and connectivity between aerospace and other technical and social disciplines.

Student Spotlight
As a high school student in Germany, Tobias Niederwieser participated in a science competition that led to his development of an improved bobsled design, which, with BMW sponsorship, he ultimately patented. Through CU-Boulder's bioastronautics graduate program, Tobias is applying this same innovativeness in the promotion of human spaceflight. A researcher for LifeLab and Bioserve Space Technologies, Tobias is helping to create scientific payloads and experiments for use on the International Space Station. To Tobias, human spaceflight is not just about empowering mankind with the ability to explore and perhaps colonize the heavens; it is also about improving technology available to those on Earth: "if we have the opportunity to eliminate gravity, we may see results [from experiments] that allow us to explore new principles and technologies." Currently, Tobias is working on SABL (Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory), an improved incubator that astronauts will use on the ISS to conduct cell culture and other biological experiments. SABL is the brain-child of CU's bioastronautics program - designed, constructed and tested through BioServe - and is due to launch aboard a Dragon capsule this September. Fundamentally, Tobias believes that his research will enable humans to tap into their basic need to explore the unknown. For Tobias, "humans are explorers and they will eventually want to get somewhere other than Earth. We saw it when Columbus came to America. We will see it when humans go to Mars."
Alumni Class Notes

Dr. Bruce Haines (CCAR PhD, '91) received the 2015 Tycho Brahe Award from the Institute of Navigation for his contributions to the use of GPS navigation for the precision positioning of oceanographic satellites. Dr. Haines has been employed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1991.

Dr. Attila Komjathy (CCAR Post Doctoral Research Associate, 1998-2001) was awarded the title of Fellow by the Institute of Navigation at a ceremony in January, 2015. His contributions are in the field of ionospheric mapping and research. He has been with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2001.

Dr. Rodney Anderson (AeroEngr MS '01, AeroEngr PhD '05) was a 2014 recipient of the Lew Allen Award for Excellence. This award recognizes and encourages significant individual accomplishments or leadership in scientific research or technological innovation by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees during the early years of their professional careers.

> Send us your updates for the next edition of Class Notes!

Note from the Chair, Penny Axelrad


We are proud to announce that CU-Boulder Aerospace Engineering Sciences has retained its Top 10 ranking in the US News and World Report graduate program rankings.

With support from the university, the College of Engineering and the Aerospace Engineering Sciences department, construction is going forward to complete a low-speed wind tunnel facility. We broke ground on East Campus on March 10 and are on track to complete the facility by this August. The wind tunnel will enable Assistant Professor John Farnsworth, one of our newest faculty members, to begin experimental research on campus in aerodynamic flow control.

In January, we held a reception to celebrate our own Professor Dan Scheeres and our EAB member and close colleague Dan Baker, Director of LASP, both being named "Distinguished Professor" by the University of Colorado, the highest title conferred upon CU faculty.

Please visit our website to keep up with the latest department news and events.  Drop by this summer for a visit—we would love to see you! Or, send us an email!

Honors & Awards


Bruce Haines (AeroEngr PhD '91), Tycho Brahe Award

Evan Thomas (AeroEngr '06, MS '06, PhD '09, PE EnvEngr Texas State '10), 2015 Recent Alumni Award

Darrel Zimbelman (AeroEngr '86, MS '87, PhD '90), 2015 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award for Government Service


Alireza Doostan, NSF Career Award, AIAA-Rocky Mountain Educator of the Year (College) award

Donna Gerren, 2014 Charles A. Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award from the CU-Boulder College of Engineering & Applied Science

Steve Nerem, inaugural American Astronautical Society Earth Science and Applications Award for 2014

Louis Stodieck, 2014 American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR) Orr Reynolds Distinguished Service Award


CU graduate students have won numerous graduate fellowships and awards, including:

15 NASA Science and Technology Fellowships, Aeronautics Fellowships, and Earth System and Science Fellowships, 13 NSF Graduate Fellowships, 4 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships or Department of Defense Branch Fellowships


Thomas Green (AeroEngr BS/MS Student), AIAA Student Chapter Outstanding Senior Award

Kirstyn Johnson (AeroEngr BS/MS '15), College Outstanding Graduate for Academic Achievement

Ashley Zerr (AeroEngr BS '15), College Outstanding Graduate for Service

Alumna Spotlight

Carol Anne Clayson (AeroEngr PhD '95) is a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, where she is director of the Ocean and Climate Change Institute. Previously, she was an associate professor and tenured faculty in the Department of Meteorology at Florida State University, as well as a tenured faculty member at Purdue University. Her research interests include air-sea interaction, remote sensing of the sea surface, modeling of the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers, and energy and freshwater cycles. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (from U. S. President Bill Clinton). In addition to authoring over 45 journal articles, Clayson has served on multiple committees for the American Meteorological Society and the National Research Council, including the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate.


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Aerospace Engineering Sciences
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